Hi there. I’m Diane Kelly Weintraub.
Mom has been hunting down the ancestors since sometime in the 1970s. One day she got curious about Dad’s ancestor because she found a gravestone up in St. Michael’s Cemetery. It belonged to Dad’s great grandfather John Kelly who came from Ireland.
That stone was hard to read and Mom went back more that a couple of times in an effort to see what it said. Finally she got it and found that it named the place he came from in Ireland. Shannonbridge in the Parish of Clonmacoise.
She told grandpop Kelly about it and at first he refused to believe it. He reasoned that what with the family devotion to tending graves, he and his parents and the entire family would have been taking care of it all along. But Mom took him to it and stood him there and read the stone to him. They both cried to have found old John Kelly who came all the way from Ireland to the coal fields of Western Maryland and made a new life.
In 1987 Mom and Dad and I went to Ireland. We went to Clonmacnoise and saw the town of Shannonbridge. Mom went to the parish house and met with the priest and got permission to view the old register. Mom found old John’s family and his parents listed there. What a thrill!
Mom worked devotedly on building out her tree even back in the day before computers when you had to send handwritten or typed letters all over the country to find out anything. I now have her surname binders full of those letters and copies of the documents she found. She was a wonderful researcher and loved the hunt. Then when she put it all on computer, she really took off. Her Ancestry subscription was well used.
In 2008 I was injured in a motor vehicle accident. As a result I could no longer work. Mom sensed my lack of motivation to find a new passion and came to the rescue. One day when we talked on the phone she said, “Did I ever tell you about the counterfeiting twins?” I was hooked. I had to know about those twins!
By 2014 when Mom could no longer see to work on the computer due to eye problems I was completely hooked on pursuing family history, mine and anyone elses. I promised Mom that I’d continue her work and then find someone else to take over, as best I could.
Just about that time, I remembered that in 1988 Mom had applied to the Daughters of the American Revolution for my sister and myself. During the summer of 2014 I checked out all I could about local chapters and cruised Facebook pages for a variety of DAR groups, dropping in on conversations about what goes on at meeting and how DAR contributes to the community. I was very impressed by this organization. I finally got up the nerve and emailed a local chapter, met some ladies, asked questions and joined up.
I mention this because the DAR, while not a “genealogy club”, has been an outlet for my interest in researching ancestor. Only two requirements exist: you must be a woman over 18 and be able to prove your blood lineage back to a Patriot of the American Revolution. It’s the proving of the line that’s the difficult part!
I took their Genealogical Education Program courses, all three, and became a Genealogy Consultant. Got a pin and everything. And I’ve worked on about 30 applications so far, investing about 1000 hours of my time researching. That means I’ve documented the verified lineage correctly for these women. It’s a rigorous process. All names, dates, places and connections between generation must be solidly documented. And then there’s the Genie at National HQ in Washington DC who looks at everything you send in and either sends back a request for additional information or marks it Verified. If you make a mistake, you have to fix it. We live for Verified!
I’m now the Lineage Research Chairman for the San Diego Chapter, and in that position work on some serious stuff. I just love it.
The skills I’ve learned by working on DAR applications and as Lineage Research Chair have set me up to work on our family history, a never ending task of great love.
Thank you, Mom.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org